“He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.” – Proverbs 28:27.
During the current year, 2016, we celebrated the one hundred year of our struggle for Irish independence, with at least some €22 million, minimum, in taxpayer funding, spent in various ways, but mainly in the areas, both in and around, Sackville Street, today better known as O’Connell Street; Dublin’s main thoroughfare.
Travelling through Dublin in recent weeks, one could not help but notice the number of homeless people begging and sleeping rough in the streets of this same city. By sleeping rough I mean men and women of all ages sleeping or bedded down in the freezing open air, seeking refuge in filthy doorways, parks and bus shelters; people sleeping in buildings or other places not designed for human habitation e.g. car parks, living what now appears to be the socially acceptable “Plastic Bag” and “Wet Cardboard” lifestyle.
A headcount taken in our Capital’s city centre area recently found 168 people were sleeping rough with this figure not including some 60 people sharing a floor in the Merchant’s Quay Night Cafe and an unknown number of persons bedded down, hidden from immediate sight in the 1752 acres of the Phoenix Park, latter containing ‘Áras an Uachtaráin’, the residence currently occupied by the head of State and President of our ‘Emerald Green Island’.
Now towards the end of 2016, following our 100 year commemorations / celebrations; call them what you will; it would appear our current minority Fine Gael government have failed dismally to adhere to the very ideals of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. Where now in 2016 are spoken the words of Collins; quote; “For the future, we must not have the destitution of poverty at one end, and at the other, an excess of riches”?
So also our rapidly diminishing so called Irish Labour Party, which propped up the outgoing Fine Gael government over the previous 5 years. They too, in their greed for power, have overlooked the accurate prophesy in the words spoken by their once executed associate James Connolly, quote: “If you remove the English army tomorrow, unless you set about the organisation of a Socialist Republic, she will still continue to rule you through her Capitalists, through her Landlords, through her Financiers“.
Current statements like “no person will be on the streets unless they want to be” are no longer acceptable from those who were elected to rule over us. When will the practice of allowing those refusing shelter; sleeping on mattresses of wet cardboard; wrapped in discarded plastic bags, cease? I say this in the knowledge of the problems within homeless shelters, due to individuals having complex drink and drug related struggles. Accept it; people lying in doorways do not feel safe in sheltered accommodation, while forced to sleep, wearing footwear on their feet; in the sure and certain knowledge if they do not, their shoes, together with other meagre possessions, will be stolen by morning.
What would it cost our government, (who knowingly amongst other unnecessary spending, used an estimated €27 million of taxpayers money, on a postal code system, namely Eircode, which possibly will never be wholly used), to provide one warm coat, a pair of stout shoes and a one-person tent that can be compressed into a portable bag (See picture above), to a mere couple of hundred rough sleepers at most?
If we see ourselves as Christians, surly it is time to examine and act immediately on the urgent and very basic needs of a few people who, for whatever reason, choose to sleep rough in conditions, (dare I say unfit for an animal), exposing themselves to the current freezing winter conditions, being experienced over recent weeks, on the streets of our cities.
“Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” – St. Luke 12:15
Michael Lowry TD
Five Tipperary towns and villages are to benefit from the ‘Town and Village Renewal Scheme’, same announced some time ago by the Fine Gael TD and Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Having made strong representations to Minister Humphreys on behalf of all applications put forward from Tipperary Co. Council; Michael Lowry TD today welcomed the inclusion of the towns and villages across Tipperary, included as part of this renewal scheme.
Welcoming the funding, the Tipperary Independent TD stated, “This funding awarded to these five towns and villages in Tipperary will be used for a number of different projects, already identified by Tipperary Co. Council and in consultation with local Councillors and active Community Groups. This rural funding will greatly assist in projects such as improving footpaths, public plazas, visual landscaping and the enhancement of tourism amenities”.
As stated; a total of five towns and villages across Tipperary are to benefit, with €380,000 in total having been awarded to the following individual urban areas.
Tipperary Town will get €97,500 for the enhancement of the ‘Centre Plaza Project’ in the town.
Borrisokane will receive €97,500 to be spent on ‘Street and Pavement Enhancement’.
Carrick-on-Suir will benefit to the tune of €47,500 for ‘Landscaping and Development of a Public Plaza’.
Cahir will also receive €97,500 for the enhancement of ‘Public Toilet facilities’.
Templemore will receive €40,000 as part of its ‘Landscape Development Plan’.
This funding, drawn down, will meet up to 85% of the total cost of each of the projects identified.
In welcoming the funding Deputy Lowry stated, “This ‘Renewal Scheme’ funding will play a vital roll in the advancement of identified projects chosen for investment under this overall scheme”.
U.S. Secretary of State Mr John Kerry
Mr John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, with the Bureau of Public Affairs at Washington, DC, has stated that U.S. Secretary of State Mr John Kerry will travel to Tipperary, Ireland, on October 30th, to meet with Irish Foreign Minister Charles Flanagan for a discussion about the Northern Ireland peace process and a range of regional and global issues.
While in Ireland, the Secretary will also accept the Tipperary International Peace Award, which will be awarded by the Tipperary Peace Convention to honour the Secretary’s efforts to end conflicts in a number of countries.
The Secretary will then travel to London, U.K., on October 31st to meet with international counterparts for a discussion about the situation in Libya and ways to improve support for the Government of National Accord. While in London, he will also accept two other awards: the Benjamin Franklin House Medal for Leadership and the Chatham House Prize.
The Chatham House Prize is given to a states-person for significant contributions to the improvement of international relations. Secretary Mr Kerry was named the 2016 recipient jointly with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
The Benjamin Franklin House Medal for Leadership is being given to Secretary Mr Kerry for his lasting contributions to diplomacy, public service and human rights.The Medal recognizes those individuals who follow in Benjamin Franklin’s footsteps by exemplifying great vision, cross-cultural understanding, effectiveness and intellectual rigour.
The Secretary will also meet with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and together with the Mayor, will engage in a discussion with London youth on current issues, including climate change and countering violent extremism.
County Councillor Pauline Coonan. (R.I.P.)
It is with deepest regret we inform you that the death has been announced of former North Tipperary County Councillor and community activist Mrs Pauline Coonan, following a long battle with illness, most bravely fought.
Wife of the former Fine Gael TD Mr Noel Coonan, Mrs Coonan herself was extremely well known in political circles and was an innovative campaigner for the Fine Gael political party in North Tipperary.
Mrs Coonan succeeded to her husband’s Council Seat on North Tipperary County Council, during which time she worked diligently and determinedly on behalf of all constituents; accomplishing major achievements over a number of terms, while she representing her official office.
Privately the proprietor of a successful Fashion Accessory, Gift Shop and Jewellers Store at Main Street, Templemore; Mrs Coonan remained profoundly involved in many local and national organisations; taking an exacting interest in work undertaken on behalf of the Chernobyl Children’s Programme and was indeed most central to the achievements of her local community’s programme.
Funeral arrangements for Mrs Coonan will be announced on this site as soon as same details become publicly available.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.
Ind. TD, Michael Lowry
Independent T.D., Deputy Michael Lowry has welcomed the decision by Independent politician & Minister for Children, M/s Katherine Zappone, to implement new programmes designed to meet the needs of vulnerable young people within South Tipperary.
Deputy Lowry complimented Tipperary Education and Training Board and South Tipperary Community Youth Service for their excellent work in compiling data and information, to underpin their successful applications. He also acknowledged Coolmore for taking initiatives on this matter and for their outstanding contribution and commitment to the overall project.
Projects designated for the Fethard/Killenaule area will commence immediately with the enhancement of services at Fethard Youth Centre, Main Street, Fethard and the Old VEC Premises/Youth Centre, Killenaule. Services will be co-located between both neighbouring towns, providing a targeted response for approximately 30 – 40 young people. Same will greatly assist in addressing for such issues and needs as substance abuse; mental health difficulties and the provision of support to access further education, training and employment.
An ‘Operational Grant’ of €26,600 has now been sanctioned and will cover the period from now until December 2016. Financial provision has also been made to fund this programme for 2017.
Fethard is also under consideration for Capital Funding of €96,000 for Capital Works – which will include €70,000 for renovations to its premises and €26,000 for the provision of necessary furniture and equipment.
Killenaule will come under consideration for a capital grant of €38,700 – €28,000 in respect of renovations to its building, together with €10,700 also for the provision of necessary furniture and equipment.
It is now the intention of Minister Zappone to formally distribute this capital fund which has been made available to her, very shortly.
The town of Cahir will also now benefit from a new funded service. The Minister has authorised a new service for the town, situated at Cahir Youth Centre, with an operational fund of €31,242 to cover the period up to December of 2016.
A decision will be made shortly with regard to a further application for €18,000 in grant aid for a fit-out of this same Youth Centre, with regard to equipment and furniture, with financial provision again to fund this project into 2017. This same project is expected to provide a targeted response for up to 40 young people in Cahir town, focusing again on the identified needs of young people aged 10 – 24 years, through one-to-one support and development, through group activities.
“Young people identified as being at particular risk of isolation will benefit significantly from engagement with these Youth Work Services”, stated Deputy Lowry.